Friday, November 29, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan Tragedy Just One Good Cause Supported by Freight and Container Shipping Groups

More News of Help Freely Given by Those Working in the Logistics Sector
Shipping News Feature

JAPAN – FRANCE – SOUTH AFRICA – PHILIPPINES – Much assistance is still being offered by those in the freight and logistics fields following the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan but elsewhere the steady support for good causes which the industry so often provides continues undiminished with news of a leading container shipping line’s continued benevolence being rewarded this week after two years help with an education project in the Republic of South Africa.

Since 2011 Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), whilst donating to the Filipino cause, has also been supporting the volunteer activities of SAPESI (South African Primary Education Support Initiative) to improve the quality of primary education in the Republic of South Africa by providing ocean transportation of educational tools and books for children in the country free of charge. Lately another shipment was carried from Yokohama to Durban prompting the country’s Tokyo Embassy to award K Line with a Certificate of Appreciation for its continued good work.

Africa has been a focal point for aid from the shipping sector for some time with companies such as Maersk subsidiary Safmarine supplying other educational assistance and you still have a chance to help others on the continent by backing one of the many Transaid sponsored projects, such as the current Christmas Appeal, which improve people’s lives by supplying vital links in the transport supply chain.

Assistance in the Philippines continues unabated and this week the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, the charity arm of the International Transport Workers Federation, authorised two grants totalling £100,000 to aid Filipino seafarers and their families affected by Typhoon Haiyan. The grants for £50,000 each are being awarded to the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) and the Philippine Seafarers’ Union (PSU) to help them deliver emergency relief for seafarers and their families. ITF Seafarers’ Trust chair Dave Heindel commented:

“Around 300,000 of the world’s seafarers are from the Philippines, many of them from the worst hit areas. These two grants will allow us to provide targeted help to them. The Seafarers’ Trust is trying to alleviate at least some of the awful effects of the tragedy that hit the Philippines, a country which is fundamental to the maritime world. With this aid the Trust is hoping to help many seafarers to get back on their feet, and to support them at this difficult time.”

French owned freight forwarding group SDV meanwhile has been engaged in aid and relief operations by supporting two organisations: HK Logistics, a company accredited by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and the UN World Food Programme. A team comprising of six SDV experts in crisis management has been dedicated to support all logistics activities and onsite staff in Tacloban and Cebu.

HK Logistics’ first priority was to setup a field hospital with a surgery room in Tacloban, aiming at welcoming 60 doctors and nurses as well as accommodating 250 victims a day. Staff and equipment are transferred by planes doing rotations from Cebu to Tacloban, as well as by an aircraft bringing in supplies directly from Australia. To assist these operations, the SDV team provides ground handling services to unload and overhaul the planes arriving in the Philippines, besides doing the customs clearance of the cargo whilst ground transportation of air crews and staff are taken care of 24/7.

Fifteen trucks and one barge are also in rotation, from Cebu to Tacloban, to transport water, fuel, food, medicines and all type of equipment for the needs of the hospital in the shortest possible time. The first surgery was successfully conducted only five days after the typhoon swept across the archipelago and Basile Ricard, General Manager, Operations at SDV Philippines, commented:

“Organising logistics for relief efforts requests speed and innovation. Remote locations and damaged infrastructure can severely slow down our actions. We also provide logistical support onsite, in Tacloban, the most affected area, by re-filling water and fuel tanks to empower the communities and facilitate the relief.”

SDV has engaged thirty trucks to support the World Food Programme in order to pick up food from various ports and airports of the archipelago and distribute it to Tacloban and surroundings. Meanwhile systems have been set up to manage the round the clock operation and, following a further request by the World Food Programme, SDV is designing logistics solutions for other affected areas in the Philippines.

The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) has a dedicated webpage for seafarers with links and resources to enable them to contact or trace family members.

Photo: The sea view from Tacloban now interrupted only by devastated homes and desolation where once a thriving community existed after the passing of the storm the locals call ‘Yolanda’.